Row Your Way to Fitness: The True Value of Rowing

Rowing machines, just like many other fitness machines, have become more effective and efficient over time. Today, they’re one of the most popular machines out there when it comes to comprehensive full-body health and muscle development. The idea of rowing is simple enough, you either work by yourself, or join a group of participants in mounting a rowing machine and sweating your way through an intense, yet low-impact workout designed to mimic all the benefits of water-based rowing.

So why is this such a great workout? The answer’s simple. Rowing really works to burn calories, improve endurance, and enhance overall body strength. Like cycling, you can exercise either independently, or in a group, for great rewards, all while focusing on multiple aspects of fitness.

Let’s take a closer look at the true value of rowing.

1.     Increasing Total-Body Strength and Endurance

Though they sound similar, total body muscular endurance and strength are two very different things. Strength is all about how much weight a particular group of muscles can manage, whereas endurance focuses on how much weight a muscle group can lift over a set period. One is long-term, whereas the other is more of an instant measurement. In rowing, as with swimming, you can increase your muscular endurance and strength in one fell swoop, although it’s stamina that generally gets the biggest hit. This is because you’re constantly repeating two of the core movements of human life – pushing, and pulling.

However, as you increase the resistance of your machine over time, you will also help your muscles to develop and grow – meaning that you get stronger too!

2.     Rowing Works Your Entire Body (at Low Impact)

The great thing about rowing is that it isn’t just one part of a complete workout routine. It is the workout routine. Rowing works muscle groups throughout your full body. For instance, during the driving phase, you engage the major muscle groups of your legs first, followed by your core, then your upper back and body. This constant exertion helps to improve muscular endurance through a range of muscle groups.

Despite that, as long as you get your form right – with the help of a trainer, rowing is also easy on the joints, because your feet maintain contact with the foot pads, and your hands stay on the handles at all times. That means that there’s no impact on the knees, hips, ankles, or shoulders (the areas most prone to injury). In other words, rowing is perfect for anyone, at any age, and any fitness level!

3.     It’s Great for Cardio Too

Though rowing is fantastic for building strength and endurance, it’s also exceptional when it comes to improving cardiovascular fitness. After all, whenever you perform a sustained exercise that increases your breath volume and heart rate, your cardio system sees the benefit. Rowing is great for the lungs and heart because it engages all of the major muscle groups of the body – forcing your heart to pump more blood into working muscle tissue to deliver the appropriate nutrients and energy to your cells, while buffering away excess waste byproducts like lactic acid.

Since the human body is super-efficient, and prefers not to exert itself too regularly, when your heart is forced to work harder than its used to, it makes changes in your physiology so that when you exert yourself in the future, it feels easier. In other words, you won’t get tired as quickly, no matter whether you’re at your rowing class, running for the bus, or jogging up the stairs.

4.     You’ll Lose Weight Faster

Since rowing machines are probably the most effective exercise tools around, they’ll give your body a full workout while burning some serious calories. Because multiple movements are involved in every exercise, Harvard Health Publications suggests that rowing even at a moderate pace for a period of thirty minutes could be enough to burn 210 calories for a 125-pound person. Alternatively, 30 minutes of “extreme rowing” can burn another fifty calories!

Rowing is a Fitness Superstar

When it comes to finding an activity that not only burns calories, but helps you to make the most out of your body too – nothing beats rowing. Unfortunately, not everyone has a river or lake nearby. However, 6M will be introducing new Concept2 rowers as the primary tool for cardio in their HIIT 6M Endurance classes – meaning that everyone can discover the benefits of rowing.


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